Artesian Builds may have crashed and burned but its former staff are trying to create a better PC outfit

Phynix PC might be a new company on the PC building scene but the people running it have been around the block. The company is made up of some of the 50 or so employees laid off by the now infamous Artesian Builds, a boutique PC builder that closed in March this year, and later filed for bankruptcy, in the wake of a damning exchange with a streamer. Now one of Phynix PC's first acts is to offer ex-customers of Artesian Builds something the now defunct company is unable to: a PC.

We knew that we could have success by putting our hearts and souls back into PC building.

Phynix PC

Hailing from North Carolina—where Artesian Builds previously ran one of its two US-based sites—Phynix PC only very recently opened its books to customers in March. Since then, it's gradually built up a small following on social media, employing many familiar tactics as its previous employer, including live streams of customer orders and a handful of PC giveaways.

Though the company's latest social media push targets those affected by Artesian Builds' sudden collapse most of all: Phynix PC says it will give anyone with an outstanding order at Artesian Builds at the time of its closure $150 of free credit on its own store.

Phynix PC is also offering a handful of other in-store vouchers for Artesian Build's ex-partners, ambassadors, and affiliates, of which there are potentially many—a list of all Artesian Builds' affiliated influencers was actually sold off in a lot when the company's assets were sold off at a recent auction, along with all of its inventory.

When asked why Phynix PC felt the need to offer this discount to Artesian Builds customers, a spokesperson for the company told me: "From day one, everyone at Phynix has been intent on not wanting a public pity party as a result of all of us being terminated due to the actions of our CEO. Instead, we are prioritizing the very deserved sympathy that many talented creators and anonymous gamers deserve for being defrauded out of their money and/or systems from the former Artesian owners.

"Or for simply having to deal with public shame and backlash of their own for ever representing a company that made some of the actions that led to its deserved downfall.

"For us, providing these kinds of discounts is both an initiative of good will, as well as an honest effort to build some trust for our growing company through a small token of appreciation for their efforts that led to us having jobs for the past 2+ years at Artesian. We knew that we lived and died by how creators perceived Artesian back in 2020 and 2021."

We want to own that we worked for a company that is now considered to be a black mark in the PC industry.

Phynix PC

I do wonder if there's any residual feeling among the team at Phynix PC that they're unable to entirely move on from Artesian Builds, which is no doubt still fresh in the minds of many. It's not often a company experiences such an abrupt change in public perception as it did, nor implode so suddenly.

Phynix PC's current employees will remember this all too well, as the team is comprised of many people laid off during that time. That includes ex-system builders and customer service representatives from the now defunct PC builder.

Though there is also sure to be simmering resentment among Artesian Builds' ex-clientele.

At the time of its closure, Artesian Builds reported around $1.37 million in unfufilled orders in its bankruptcy filing, meaning there were many angry customers looking for recompence in the months following. Some of these orders were later sold off to help pay off the company's debts, while customers had to instead seek out other ways to claim back their cash, such as disputing the charges with their credit card company.

"After the fallout from Artesian, many of us still felt that we had lots to give," a Phynix PC spokesperson tells me. "Our interactions with PC enthusiasts, customers, and gamers were always pleasant. And after seeing the community's ability to separate that we employees were not responsible for the downfall of our former company (and just trying to do our jobs), we knew that we could have success by putting our hearts and souls back into PC building."

Here are some customer PCs left in stasis at Artesian Builds' warehouse in North Carolina when the company shuttered. (Image credit: Artesian Builds)

Yet while it appears there's no grudge against those that now make up Phynix PC on social media, it still sounds like a difficult sell to convince Artesian Builds' burned out customers to put their trust in any boutique PC builder, including Phynix PC, again.

"The community's trust will really come from allowing some time to elapse with proof of good business practice, as well as through how we take the time to communicate. Hiding behind a new brand and not acknowledging the wounds we endured working at Artesian would be a mistake, in our opinions.

"We want to own that we worked for a company that is now considered to be a black mark in the PC industry."

I'm told that the company wants to learn from the errors its staff witnessed at Artesian Builds in order to not repeat those same mistakes with Phynix PC.

"We want to answer questions, do live-stream AMA's, and publicly acknowledge what we learned NOT to do now that we have the privileged ability to run a business on our own.

"We've been astounded by the (mostly) unanimous support for what we went through, and what we're doing. But now that the 'pats on the back' and wave of empathy has mainly calmed as people begin to phase out most of Artesian's existence from their memories, it's up to us to build a new company the right way, based on all the feedback we received, and what we saw first-hand at our former company."

It's an interesting prospect. On the one hand, I would have expected any company born out of Artesian Builds' collapse to try to be rid of any association with the brand whatsoever; a clean slate for its customers and employees. Yet Phynix PC is doing the exact opposite. It's entire company brand, its logo even, is a reference to its employees' previous experience at a failed company and how it aims to "rise from the ashes". 

Perhaps there is something in owning up to your origins, good or bad, and hoping that eventually the good word you generate for yourself puts that chapter of your own history to bed. Though, ultimately, that all depends on how Phynix PC delivers on its promises, and it will most likely have high standards set upon it by its customers that will need to be met religiously with its PCs in order for it to succeed. 

It's up to us to build a new company the right way.

Phynix PC

It will have to build a mean PC or two to stand out as well—it's a competitive market out there.

The widely inflated GPU market is beginning to ease to a more affordable level today, and pre-built PCs are slipping in price as a result. Phynix PC admits on its site that it is still in the process of negotiating with distributors, and that could mean prices and parts will fluctuate more than they will for those established builders out there. It has to start from scratch with this stuff, after all.

The latest GPUs and CPUs are finally found under $1,000 from major retailers and system builders, yet I feel Phynix PC's cheapest PC, the $950 Harpy with a GTX 1660 Super and Core i3 12100F, may lag a little behind in terms of value. That's a great CPU, but not quite a modern enough GPU for my liking.

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Its mid-range PC, the Syren, appears much better value from first impression alone. With an RTX 3060 Ti, Core i5 12400F, and 1TB SSD for $1,500, it's perhaps a little on the pricey side for that graphics card, but could be forgiven for its generous 32GB of RAM. The company's high-end PC, the Griffyn, is also a reasonable purchase at $2,500 compared to some other system builders for its combination of RTX 3080, Core i7 12700K, and 32GB of RAM.

It will be key for Phynix to stick the build quality and customer service for the duration of the offered 2-year warranty, however, and that's something that will come out for better or worse as the company ramps up orders and these are put to the test over time.

Yet if Phynix PC is able to hit competitive price points with well-built products, I'd like to think it'll find some success. Not only because they appear a good bunch of people, but that they seem to hold the right attitude, one which has been forged from a shared experience of a very bad time.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.